Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

A BIG thank you to Shelley for beta reading it and helping on some of the rewriting.

Next, a thank you to everyone who didn't give up on me and kept e-mailing me asking for Saturday.

Any and all feedback is always appreciated!

Saturday

by Susan Monica

********************

Blair groaned as Josh helped him to his feet. He leaned against the wall and waited for the room to stop spinning. Okay, we need a plan. We gotta buy Jim some time, and we can't just sit here and wait for them to come back.

Buddy had managed to get up and he was now sitting with his legs hanging off the side of the bed listening to Blair. He still looked awful, but now there was hope in his eyes when he spoke to Josh and Blair. Just having someone to talk to helped raise his spirits and ground him again.

"There aren't really any weapons we can use in here, Chet made sure of that." He smiled at Blair. "I had been thinking of using that chair leg as a club, but you beat me to it Blair."

"Yeah, a lot of good it did me, that guy Sully is a gorilla." Blair touched his hand to his forehead and grimaced.

Buddy got up off the bed and picked up the end of the mattress. He pushed his fingers into a rip in the side and pulled out a short length of pipe. "Actually, the first week I was here I managed to get this metal pipe off the bed frame. It's not too long; the bed has old metal springs like my grandma had in her house. I hid it in the mattress, and I think we could use that."

Blair took the pipe and swung it like a bat. "Cool, we should be able to do a little damage with this."

"What good is a pipe against guns?" Josh was staring at Blair and trying not to envision the outcome of that fight. "I mean there are five of them and three of us."

Blair groaned as he dropped the pipe and held his sore middle. "Oh, that's sore. Sully sure knows how to hurt people. We aren't going to try to fight them all Josh. We're no match for any of them."

"Then what are we doing?"

"We distract them?" Buddy turned his head to look at Blair "Right?"

He turned back to Josh and smiled. "I couldn't make it too far from this bed and Blair may have some cracked ribs from Sully's beating. You're the only hope kid. Blair and I will start a ruckus and hopefully we can distract them for a few minutes. And if we get really lucky, they all won't come back together. You get out of that door and don't stop running till you find us some help."

"No way!" Josh looked outraged. "I'm not running away."

"No, man, no you're not." Blair glanced quickly at Buddy and saw the hopeless look on his face at Josh's refusal to go. Blair grabbed Josh's arm and pulled him around to face him, wincing at the pain in his side.

"You're going to find some help for us. Look Josh, Buddy is right, we are in no shape to try and outrun any of these guys. You're our only hope."

"But I helped you with Sully, maybe we could …"

Blair shook him hard. "Listen to me! We can't take that chance, suppose they all come back? If you get involved in a fight, we all lose. We can't take them all. Please, Josh, you really are our only hope. You're not running out on us, you're running to save our lives."

Buddy managed to stand, keeping one hand against the wall to steady him. "Look Josh, you turn left when you get out of this room. It's a long twisted hallway, then a flight of stairs up. I met them here when they first grabbed me - it's a rave club on the waterfront. When you hit the street, go right two blocks, then make a left and run like hell. There are cops all over that area because of tourists. Don't stop for anything."

"Okay, but I'd rather stay and help you guys."

"We'd love to have you stay." Blair was smiling at him now. "But our lives are depending on how fast you can run, kiddo. You'll be by the door when they come in."

"Blair, if you keep the pipe to use for our protection, we'll need to find Josh some kind of weapon, in case one of them stays near the door."

Buddy knelt carefully by the bed reaching with one arm under it patting the dusty floor.

"Gotcha!"

Panting from the small exertion, he pulled one heavy, white Nike sneaker from under the bed and held it aloft for them to see.

"Size 13, you aim for his nose, Josh and you'll do some heavy duty damage."

"Geez, Buddy."

Blair took the sneaker from Buddy and glanced down at his own 8 l/2's and started laughing.

"Does this canoe you call a sneaker come with a paddle?"

Buddy tried to look offended. "Hey, man they were my pride and joy. They cost me a week's salary."

Blair turned to Josh and handed him the footwear. "Okay Josh, try it out. Lace them up tight and slide your fingers in the laces. Get a good grip. Try to hit them in the nose with the heel, it's the heaviest part. Don't wait to see what's happening."

Blair put his hand on Josh's shoulder and watched the expression on his face. "Don't worry about anything - just run like hell and find us help, okay?"

Josh looked at Blair and Buddy, and then hefted the sneaker. "Yeah, I got it. I don't like it, but I got it."

********************

Simon looked up from the documents he was reading distracted by Jim's prowling back and forth across his office, and snapped at him, "Stop that damn pacing, you're going to wear a hole in my carpet!"

"I can't help it, captain, there's got to be something else I can do."

Jim ran his hand though his short hair in frustration. He was sick with worry, not having a lead to work on was driving him crazy. Marcus already had one run-in with Jim in the office, and was now sitting across from Simon checking everything they had gone over to stay out of Jim's way.

Jim started pacing again. "I missed something, I'm sure of it!"

"Settle down, Jim! Get over here and help Marcus look over those new Forensic reports, that's what you can do."

Simon turned at a tap on the door. Rhonda stepped into the office carrying a file.

"Captain, I have the information you wanted. Two of these locations are dance clubs. I've checked them, and the Club Regis has more of an upscale clientele. The other is called Club Abyss. The files show it caters to a younger college age crowd. It's been under surveillance by Vice, and the club has been cited for cases of underage drinking. The notes say there are rumors of drug dealing, but they haven't been able to get any undercover agents in there yet. Local bands play there regularly and some minor hoodlums have been spotted there, but nothing obvious enough to close them down."

Simon pointed to the papers in Marcus' hands. "Wait a minute, wasn't there a Club Abyss on the list Rafe gave us, Marcus?"

"Yes, there was, Captain. It's located in the waterfront district where they are trying to renovate. It's getting pretty yuppie over there."

Simon grabbed his phone with one hand and pointed his cigar at Jim.

"Jim, let's start at the Club Abyss. You and Marcus head over there, I'll get Rafe and Henri and meet you there. I want to get in touch with Vice and have them back us up. Rhonda, tell Henri and Rafe to get in here!"

"Yes sir, Captain." Rhonda turned and left the office quickly to carry out her boss's order.

Jim had come to his feet the minute Captain Banks started speaking, relieved to be getting back into action. He tossed the files onto the captain's desk and started for the door.

"Yes sir! Let's go, Steele!"
******************************
Marcus braced himself with one hand against the dashboard, thankful for the seatbelt holding him in place as Jim's truck took another turn with wheels screeching in protest. Glancing at Jim's profile, Marcus could see the muscles knotted in his jaw.

"Listen Jim, this club has to be the place. It has perfect cover with all those people going in and out, no one would spot them bringing in those kids. We'll get there in time. I'm not going to lose my son to that bastard."

Jim spared Marcus a quick glance and muttered through his teeth.

"God, I am so pissed at myself! I never should have let him do it in the first place. I knew this would happen."

Jim banged the open palm of his hand on the steering wheel.

"You don't know Sandburg, if there is trouble anywhere it just seems to find the kid or he finds it. He brings home crazy people like others bring home stray cats. He's always amazed when he finds out they were trying to use him, or they are wanted and on the run. He can't see all the rotten things people are capable of."

Marcus eased the seat belt away from his body and turned sideways to face the frustrated detective.

"Jim, for all that's happened to him, Sandburg is still naive. I really screwed up; I took one look at those clothes and long hair and made a snap judgment. He reminds me so much of my kid. Josh couldn't imagine some kid spiking another kid's drink to get him hooked on drugs for the money in it. Do we really want them to lose that? I don't. I want Josh to be able to hold onto that innocence as long as he can. Do you want Blair to lose the way he looks at the world, and to see it the way we see it?"

Jim sighed in frustration.

"No, that's what makes him Sandburg. The kid just believes there is a core of goodness in everyone. Geez, it makes me crazy!"

Jim's cell phone ringing interrupted them. He grabbed the cell phone and barked into it.

"Ellison."

Simon's deep voice sounded in his ear. "I've got two squad cars with me and Captain Mendoza from Steele's division is following Henri and Rafe. I'm two blocks away from Club Abyss, where are you?"

"We're just coming up to the club now, Captain. I can see a side entrance, and the back of the building abuts the water. The only other exit looks like the front door. It looks like they've stacked crates of empty beer bottles outside the side entrance; that should offer some cover for us to try that way."

Jim could see Simon's car screeching to a stop in front of the main entrance to the club and several other patrol cars pulling up in front of the building.

"Okay, I'll have one car park around back by the water. Henri and Rafe will follow me in through the front with the rest. Jim, I don't have to tell you how dangerous these people are, so be careful!"

"Yes, sir, Captain. Marcus and I are going in now, we'll check out down here, and work our way up to you."
********************
Simon snapped his cell phone shut, and got out of his car. Henri and Rafe were parked next to him, standing at the back of the car with the trunk lid up. Several undercover cops from Marcus's division walked over to join Simon and get their orders. Henri leaned into the trunk and pulled out a bulletproof vest and slapped it hard against Rafe's chest.

"Here pretty boy, you are supposed to be wearing this."

Rafe glanced fleetingly in his captain's direction and fumbled with the vest.

Simon halted the progress of his cigar to his mouth to stare at the young detective.

"What the hell are you thinking? Why isn't that vest already on? Do you have a death wish, Detective that I don't know about?"

"Uh, no, sir! We were rushing…..I mean I heard this was where Blair was being held hostage. I just thought....I didn't want to waste any more time, so I figured I would put it on when we got here."

Simon's voice rose as he pointed his cigar at Rafe.

"No, mister, you didn't think at all. This may be a hostage situation, there could be gunfire. Now, get that vest on and get your ass back behind your partner!"

Rafe could feel the blush staining his cheeks and tried not to look at the other officers listening to the exchange with his captain.

"Yes, sir!"

He turned back to Henri, slid his jacket off and tossed it into the trunk. Henri reached over and helped Rafe slip the heavy vest over his head. Rafe pulled one side thru and stood still as Henri pulled the Velcro fastening tight. He grinned and patted Rafe on the chest.

Simon turned back to discuss strategy with Captain Mendoza, muttering to himself about the stupidity of Rafe forgetting the vest. He shook his head at the young detective's behavior. What would Rafe have done, if they had arrived in a fire fight? All it will take is getting shot once to make sure he never forgets it again, Simon thought.

********************

Jim closed his cell phone and turned to see where Marcus Steel was. He found the other man scouting around the door and trying the handle. Jim walked towards him and was bout to urge him to be careful with the door, when he saw Steel open the door and start through. Hurrying his pace, Jim caught up as the other man reached a stairway that led down into a possible storeroom for the club.

As soon as Steel stopped moving, Jim came around him to lead the way down the steps. There was a little light from the side door, but Jim didn't want to take any chances with a misstep announcing their arrival to anyone below. When they got to the bottom, Jim could see a hallway to the right. As he started walking slowly forward, Marcus grabbed his forearm to stop him, and leaned close to whisper against his ear. "I can't see anything in front of me, can you? I'm gonna light a match."

"No!" Jim hissed at him. "I can see, hold onto my jacket."

"How the hell can you see anything down here?"

"Shhh."

"What, now you hear something?"

Jim tried to block out the sound of music from the upstairs club and concentrate harder. There! He heard it again, the faintest sounds of someone talking. The sound was distorted in the long hallway, and he was afraid he would zone out if he tried to listen harder. Jim shook his head in frustration, wondering if Steele would be able to help him ground. Damn, he would just have to chance it.

"Marcus, put your hand on my shoulder."

"What for?"

"Just do it!"

Marcus sighed and slid his free hand up to Jim's shoulder. Jim started to straighten, and lifting his head, he closed his eyes a minute and took a deep breath. He smiled and murmured softly," Okay, Chief, I've got him."

Marcus pushed him against the cement wall and hissed at him.

"What the hell are you talking about Ellison? You got who?"

"That bastard who took Blair, can't you smell it? He pours crappy cologne all over and he stinks."

Marcus' worried gray eyes stared into Jim's blue ones and he murmured softly, "You can smell him?"

Jim pushed him away gently and turned to face the hallway once more.

"I could smell that son of a bitch a mile away. Follow me."

He could hear Blair's voice in his head - Okay, concentrate and piggyback your sight with your smell. Follow the odor - trace it with your eyes. You can do it. Jim lifted his head and scented the air again, following the path with his eyes. Almost a hundred and fifty feet down on his right he could see the faintest glimmer of light coming from the bottom of the wall. No, not the wall, it must be a doorway. He reached back to gently tug Marcus' arm to pull him out of the way of crates stacked against the wall in front of them. He halted there a minute hearing voices getting louder.
********************
Josh was sitting on the one surviving chair with his arms crossed over the railing at the end of the bed. His chin was resting on his arms and he stared at the wall. He turned his wrist to check his watch one more time. One in the morning, God he was tired. Tired and scared. Suppose their plan didn't work. He closed his eyes for a minute. No it's gotta work. Just run like hell Blair had said, he could do that. He turned his head towards the door. "Blair, someone's coming!"

Blair got up from lying on the foot of the bed and turned to help Buddy up. They stayed close to the bed hoping to force whoever came in to cross the room and give Josh a better chance of getting out. Josh quickly got up and crossed the room staying close to the wall. He wound the laces around his hand and let the sneaker dangle against his leg.
********************
Chet pushed the door open and came in followed closely by Gabe. They barely glanced at Josh as they headed straight towards Blair. Denton James came in next, with Sully bringing up the rear pushing Ritchie in ahead of him. Chet and Gabe circled behind Blair and stood close to him. Blair glanced behind him quickly before turning his attention back to Denton James.

"Well boys, it's time to start the party. Ritchie here bought you a little something to help get things rolling, didn't you Ritchie?"

Blair tried not to stare at Josh, hoping he would get out while they were walking towards him, but Josh was rooted to the spot, staring at the small, plastic box Ritchie had in his hand.

"Uncle Denton, maybe this isn't such a good idea. I mean that detective buddy of Sandburg's will be tearing up the streets looking for him. Why don't we just leave them here and get out now?"

Denton James looked at Ritchie menacingly, "Ya know Ritchie, a funny thing happened before. Gabe told me you made a phone call on your cell while you were watching the band." Ritchie's face turned white and he glanced quickly at Gabe, while nervously trying to back away from his uncle. Sully was standing behind him and grabbed his shoulders, keeping him from moving.

"Ritchie, you know what my second rule is? Don't trust anybody. Somebody is always willing to give you up. Now, whom could you have called? Your stock broker, huh? You call your broker, Ritchie? You looking for some tips?"

"No, no, Uncle Denton, please- you don't understand…"

"Oh, sure I do. Let's just check and see okay. Let's see who you were calling. Sully!"

Sully slid his hand under Ritchie's jacket and pulled out the cell phone, tossing it over to Denton James. Ritchie could feel the sweat rolling down his shoulder blades and he pushed back against Sully, trying to move further away from his uncle.
********************
Josh realized no one was paying attention to him, so he moved closer to the door. He was only a foot away now praying no one would notice his movements.
********************
"Now, you push this button and you get redial? Let's see, who did you talk to last, eh boy?"

Denton's eyes turned ugly as he heard a female voice, "Cascade Police Headquarters. Detective Squad, may I help you?"
********************
Simon went through the front doors of the club with Henri and Rafe clearing the way. He sent two of the officers who followed to the other side of the room with orders to work their way to the front. The music was loud with white strobe lights flashing wildly around the room. Each person's face or body would flash briefly and then disappear making it look like they were dancing in slow motion. A lot of the younger kids were dressed in "Goth" outfits, faces done in white makeup with heavily accented black eyes. Many of them had piercings on their ears and faces. The smoke from cigarettes and the sweet sickening smell of pot hung heavy in the air. Henri looked around at the people dancing and others throwing themselves off the small stage and into the crowd below and muttered softly, "My God, this looks like a scene from Dante's Inferno."

Simon leaned over to yell in Henri's ear. "Grab some men and send them backstage to shut off the music. See if Rafe can find the electrical box, and have him reset the lights to normal, so we can see where the hell we are going!" They worked their way towards the stage, cutting through the crowd on the dance floor. People started yelling as more cops poured into the building grabbing dancers and herding them out the front door.
********************
Denton could still hear Rhonda's voice asking, "Hello? Hello?" as he pulled his gun from under his jacket. He pressed the off button and swung around to face Ritchie.

"You little shit!"

Ritchie saw the gun and screamed, dropping the box he put his hands up in a futile attempt to stop the bullet. The report from the gun was deafening in the small room and Ritchie looked down in horror at the red stain blossoming through his shirtfront. He turned his head towards Blair and tried to mouth some words. Buddy threw himself at Denton James, just as he pulled the trigger again. The bullet embedded itself into the doorway above Josh's head. Blair couldn't believe his eyes, everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. He grabbed Ritchie as he slid to the floor.

"Oh, God, ohmygod. I don't wanna die, Blair. Oh ,God it hurts so much."

Ritchie was crying as he looked down at his bloody hands.

Blair held onto Ritchie, staring up at Denton James with horror filled eyes. "No! You bastard, how could you do this?' Ritchie, Ritchie, its okay. You're gonna be okay man, just hang in there."

Blair pulled off his vest and folded it, pressing it against the spreading red stain on Ritchie's chest. He knew he was babbling, but he couldn't stop. His hands were shaking and covered with Ritchie's blood. He felt sick and was too afraid to pull the shirt up to see the wound.

The gunshots broke through Josh's paralysis and he bolted the last foot to the door. He pulled it open just as Chet reached him. He swung the sneaker catching the thug across the face, smashing his nose and stopping Chet in his tracks. Josh tore through the door turning right as another bullet splintered the doorframe next to him.

"Get him! Don't let him get away!" Denton was screaming at Chet, as he smashed his gun butt against Buddy's face. Buddy crumpled to the floor in a heap, and Denton turned around to point the gun once more at Ritchie.

Sully and Gabe pulled out their guns and went to get Blair. Ritchie screamed in agony as Sully kicked him in the side to push him out of their way. Sully grabbed Blair by the back of his shirt and pulled him away from Ritchie.

"Yeah, get him away from that little bastard. What's the matter, nephew, got nothing to say now?" Denton James' eyes were glittering with hate as he spat out the words.

"Denton, let's go! I wanna do this guy first, and then we can take care of Ritchie." Sully said shaking Blair and pointing toward the box Ritchie dropped earlier.

"Of course, you're right, Sully," James said, putting his gun back into his jacket, pulling out a handkerchief, and wiping his mouth. "You got me so upset Ritchie that just wasn't right was it? I mean, I came here to take care of these two and you almost made me forget that."

Denton was standing over his nephew, coldly watching as Ritchie's life blood poured out of the gaping wound in his chest.

Ritchie stared up into his uncle's glittering, hate filled eyes, wondering how his life could have gone wrong so fast. How could it end this way? His eyes drifted slowly shut, and he died without making another sound.

Denton James looked at Sully and said mockingly, "Oh, how sad, I think my nephew is no longer with us." He turned and looked at Gabe. "Where are those very special needles we have for our guests?"

Gabe slowly bent down and picked up the plastic box Ritchie dropped when he was shot, and moved towards Blair.

"NO!" Blair struggled to pull away from Sully, but he pulled Blair around to face him, smashing his fist into Blair's face. Sully punched him again in the stomach, doubling him over. Sully leaned over to leer into Blair's face, spittle gathering in the corners of his mouth.

"This is a speedball, kid. Gabe made it up special for you, this is gonna be so much fun. It's white hot when it goes in. You're gonna feel it running like fire through your veins, licking along your arms. Ohh, babe, you're gonna love it."

Blair was bent over trying to catch his breath. As he saw Gabe approaching through the curtain of his hair, Blair tried to twist his arm out of Sully's iron grip. "No, man, don't do this, don't do this," he pleaded still trying to break the hold on his arm.

He kicked out at Gabe as he approached, hitting a glancing blow across the thug's thigh. Blair had the satisfaction of hearing Gabe yelp in pain, but it quickly vanished as Sully grabbed him and pulled his arm back roughly and twisted it again. Blair had to concentrate not to let out a yelp of his own, as he felt a searing pain in his chest, making it hard for him to breathe.

"Enough!" Denton screamed at them. Sully pulled Blair back against him raising Blair's feet off the floor, turning him and slamming him onto the floor on his belly. Blair tried to squirm away, but Sully hauled him back as Gabe came to kneel next to the pair. Sully was trying to hold him down, but Blair managed to pull away from him, his shirt coming out of his pants and ripping open. Sully reached down and slid his hand under Blair's belt hauling him back up to him, kneeling down now. He grabbed Blair's left arm and placed his knee on it, pinning it firmly against the floor.

"Sit on his legs, hurry up, Gabe."

"No, man, no. Don't do this, please not like this!"

Blair was sobbing as he tried to buck Gabe up off his pinned legs.

"Oh, God! Jim, where are you man!" Blair tried to catch his breath on a sob and arched his back trying desperately to get away, screaming as he saw Gabe pull the cap off a needle.

"JIM! JIMMMM"

Sully grabbed Blair's throat tightening his grip. He leaned forward to stare into Blair's tear filled eyes. "Shut the fuck up, you little shit. Your boy isn't going to find you in time, Sandburg. So just shut up and die."

Gabe grabbed Blair's other arm and pulled up the sleeve. He squeezed his thumb next to the vein and saw it protrude slightly against the skin. "Nice," he said sarcastically, giving Blair a sadistic grin as he slid the needle into the vein and pushed the plunger.
********************
Josh raced up the stairs with Chet chasing close behind. He could hear music getting louder and suddenly saw lights from a stage in front of him. Josh made a mad dash towards the lights and music and instinctively ducked as he heard Chet shouting behind him. He threw himself down onto the stage as he heard gunshots behind him. The bullets hit a stand of strobe lights on the stage and they exploded into bits and pieces of glass, hitting the band members. It seemed like everyone was screaming and running now.

Chet was on the stage with two other men with guns. Josh saw him grab one of the men's arm and point towards Josh screaming. Oh great, now he has even more help. Come on Josh, Blair and Buddy are counting on you, think of something! Josh's breath was coming in gasps and he tried to keep low looking out in the crowd for some kind of help.

The image of Captain Simon Banks, long cigar clenched in his teeth and gun in hand pushing through the front of the crowd, was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. He yelled and raced towards him.
********************
Simon saw a young boy come flying towards him and spotted Chet on the stage behind the kid trying to get a clear shot at the boy. He raced towards Josh and grabbed him close, pushing him to the floor shielding the boy with his big body.

"Henri!" Simon yelled and looked over. He saw Henri had heard his shouted warning and was taking cover behind an overturned table.
********************

Henri yelled at Chet to drop his gun, then fired as Chet swung his gun towards him and started shooting.

The other two men had split up and were trying to find cover while exchanging gunfire with Rafe. Henri looked up in amazement, watching his partner ducking his head and run towards him, firing at the men on the stage. He heard Rafe scream and break stride and yelled at him. "Get down, Rafe, stay low!"

Henri managed to stand and reached over to grab his partner and pull him over the top of an overturned table using it as cover.

"Oww, shit, shit I'm hit."

Henri grabbed him and pushed him back against the table. "Oh, God, where, where are you hit, Rafe?"

Henri's hands were roaming over Rafe's chest and arms. Henri pulled open Rafe's jacket and checked, but couldn't find any bullets lodged in his partners vest. He slid one hand down over Rafe's thigh and heard him whince, then felt the telltale wetness on the back of his leg.

"Oh, man that hurts, H."

"You're okay, babe, nothing vital's been hit. I can't believe it Rafe, you got shot in the butt!"
********************
Simon kept Josh pinned under him and raised his gun and fired at Chet hitting him in the shoulder. Chet screamed, and fell over onto the stage. More policemen poured into the club and started to exchange gunfire with the last two men on stage.

Simon raised his voice and yelled, "This is the Cascade Police! Cease fire, and lower your weapons!" One of the remaining gunmen stood and turned to run, firing back at them, Henri fired and hit him in the leg. With his partner wounded, the last man flung his gun to the ground and stood slowly, hands in the air.

Simon watched as Henri helped Rafe stand and limp over to him. Simon gave Rafe a quick look over then glanced at Henri. "Where was he hit, I don't see any blood?"

Rafe swallowed hard and stammered, "It's nothing, Captain, I just…"

"In the butt."

Henri was smiling and spoke at the same time as Rafe, ignoring his partner's attempt to keep him from divulging where he had been shot from their captain.

Josh was trying to get Simon's attention and grabbed the front of his long coat. "Come on, they have Blair and Buddy. They're gonna kill them!"

Simon grabbed Josh by his arms. "Where are they?" Josh turned and started back towards the stage.

"Follow me, they're down here."

Simon followed the boy, and Rafe gave Henri a push in that direction, limping slowly after him.

"Come on man, I'll live, just follow the captain. Oh, and H?"

"Yeah, Rafe?"

"Don't you dare tell anyone…"

Henri checked his gun and started after Simon.

"Oh, Rafe, you've gotta be kidding!"
********************
Jim started running towards the door as he heard Blair's scream with Marcus a half step behind him. He had his gun out and came into the room on a low crouch. He took in the scene of Blair on the floor with Sully and Gabe holding him down and Blair's weakening struggles against them. Marcus came in behind him and yelled, "Police, throw down your weapons."

Gabe let go of Blair and started to scramble away trying to use Buddy James' body to shield him as he fired wildly at Marcus. Marcus' bullet caught Gabe in the chest, spinning him around and sending his body sprawling across the bed. Marcus swung his gun towards Denton James and watched him lift his hands clear of his body to raise them into the air.

"Easy, Detective, easy. I'm surrendering."

Sully let go of Blair and started to come to his feet pulling his gun as he saw Blair's big partner coming relentlessly towards him. He looked into Jim's cold blue eyes and heard him snarl, and felt fear for the first time in his life. We never should've taken the kid, was his last thought as Jim's gun spat once and he was thrown back against the wall with a grotesque third eye appearing in his forehead.

Jim barely glanced down at Sully's body, vacant eyes staring up at him as he passed by. He knelt beside Blair pulling the anthropologist's shivering body up, and into his arms. Blair's face was white and his body slick with sweat. Cupping Blair's face with one large hand, the detective called his name trying to get Blair to focus his eyes and respond to him. Jim slid his hand down to Blair's neck and felt his pulse beating rapidly.

"Come on, kid, come on."

He reached down and pulled the needle from Blair's arm. Jim lifted the half empty syringe to his nose and sniffed carefully. He looked around the floor and spotted the cap to the needle lying next to Blair's leg. Jim leaned over and picked it up and placed it carefully over the syringe. He stared at it a minute, before slipping it into his pocket, thinking perhaps the doctors could analyze the contents and help Blair.
********************
Marcus glared at Denton James and steadied his gun, "Where's my son? Where is he you son of a bitch?"

"Relax, relax he got away. Don't do anything stupid, Detective."

They heard the thud of feet in the hallway and Simon and Brown came into the room. Henri walked over and quickly searched Denton James for a weapon and found a gun in James' jacket. The detective pulled Denton James arms behind his back, cuffing him as Marcus kept his gun on them.

Josh came in a few steps behind Captain Banks and Henri Brown helping Rafe limp along. Rafe spotted a young man on the floor and left Josh to check him. The detective winced as he knelt next to Buddy James, feeling his neck for a pulse. Buddy moaned softly and Rafe spoke to him quietly, "It's okay, just take it easy. The good guys are here."

Simon waited until Marcus turned and spotted his son, and then walked over to check with Rafe. "This must be the undercover officer Marcus has been looking for. They certainly roughed him up. Stay with him Rafe." Simon turned and walked towards where Jim was kneeling with Blair.
********************
"Josh!"

"Daddy!" The boy flung himself into his father's open arms and was caught up tight against his father's broad chest.

"Josh, oh God, Josh! You're all right, let me see."

Marcus tried to push him back, but Josh clung tighter, pushing his face into his father's chest. He felt his father's strong arms holding him, and didn't want him to let go. He was safe and that was all that mattered.

"It's okay, son, it's okay, I've got you, I've got you now." Marcus ran his hand over his son's head and down his back murmuring the nonsense a parent does to comfort their child.
********************
Simon reached Jim's side, and saw for himself how terrible Blair looked. The younger man lay shivering in Jim's arms, his body twitching sporadically. Simon could see through Blair's tangled curtain of hair, his bruised and battered face. The captain pulled his cell phone out and quickly punched in some numbers, barely waiting for a response on the other end before he started speaking, "This is Captain Banks, get me a medic and send down stretchers, we have wounded."

"Jim? Jimmm, God, it's so hot, so hot!"

Blair's hand came up to try to pull at his shirt. "I can't do this Jim!" He struggled to get out of Jim's arms. "Ohhh man, Jim, I‘m scared, got to get out of here!"

"It's okay Blair, it's okay, buddy. I've got you." Jim tried to soothe him, pushing Blair's curls off his wet face.

"Captain, the paramedics are gonna be held up trying to get through that crowd upstairs. I don't know what drugs they've given Blair, but I'm sure the longer he has them in his system, the more damage it will do to him. I can't wait for them to bring Blair to the hospital; I'll carry him out of here, and take him. I'm sure it will be faster."

Jim pulled Blair's body close against his chest, slid his other arm under Blair's legs and got to his feet.

"Wait a minute, wrap him in this." Simon shrugged out of his long coat and tucked it around Blair's shivering body.

"Okay let's go, I'll drive you there!"
********************
Simon led the way out of the room, barking orders as he walked past Brown, "Henri, send Rafe in the ambulance with Buddy James, Marcus and the boy. You make sure you book Denton James. I'll get back as soon as I get Jim and Blair situated at the hospital."

"Yes, sir, Captain."

Simon continued speaking, "Oh, Captain Mendez from Vice is upstairs. His people will help with the cleanup and wait for the coroner to pick up the bodies down here."

Then Simon was gone, striding through the club, shouting directions to the officers from Vice as they passed on where to find his men downstairs. One of the officers held open the door to Simon's car and helped Jim get in holding Blair. Jim sat in the back seat holding Blair secure, as Simon strode around and got in the driver's side. He snapped the magnetic red light onto the top of the car, and pulled away with the siren screaming.
********************
The trip to the hospital was a blur for Jim. He tuned out all the lights and sirens and keyed into Blair's heartbeat. He monitored his breathing, checking his pulse and tried to keep Blair awake and talking.

"Come on, buddy stay with me. Stay with me Blair. Can you hear me? What did they give you?

"Jim? Jimmm, its…it wass…"

"It was what, Blair?"

Blair was shaking and Jim wrapped Simon's coat around him tighter.

"Spa..oh, God it hurts….speed…Jim, Jim …speedball…..but, but it's not fast." Blair started laughing then groaned. "It soooooo slowwww, look Jim look." Blair brought his hand up to his face. "I can see the colors, Jim, I…oh man, Sully. Jim, you gotta get Sully. He shot Ritchie; there was so much blood, Jim I can't get it off my hand." Blair rubbed his hand against Simon's coat, moaning softly. "I can't get it off, Jim……Jim please get it off!"

"It's okay kid, I'll get it off. Just relax, Blair, everything is okay."

He vaguely heard Simon saying they were there before the door was opened and arms were reaching in to take Blair from him. Two orderlies put him on a stretcher and Jim kept his hands on Blair as they raced down the hallway towards the Emergency Room.

A nurse from the Emergency Room met them in the hallway and directed the orderlies into one of the smaller rooms filling with medical personnel. Two nurses started cutting Blair's clothes off and Jim grabbed one of the doctors who looked familiar. It was Doctor Canon who had taken care of Blair once before and who Jim knew was a good man.

"Doc, Blair has been awake on and off since we found him. He says he was shot up with a speedball, and I found this in his arm." Jim pulled out the carefully wrapped needle and showed it to the doctor. "Can you analyze it and see what it was?"

Doctor Canon took the needle from Ellison. "Speedball, God, what next! It's okay, Detective Ellison is it?" He signaled to a waiting nurse. "Get this down for a Tox screen, stat. I need to know what he has been drugged with." Turning back to Jim, the doctor continued, "Detective, thank you for bringing this in, you may have just saved your friend's life."

"Before I can do anything to clean out his system, though, we need to get him calmed down and check for other injuries. It's going to be a little hairy for a while, I need you outside, Detective."

Simon had followed them and now stepped in and took Jim's arm to pull him out of the room. "Come on Jim, let them do their job - they know what they're doing."

He pushed Jim into a cold plastic chair near the door and looked around the room. Across the floor he spotted a coffee machine and made a beeline for it.
********************
Jim sat quietly listening to the doctors and nurses in the next room working on his friend. He listened to the rapid beating of Blair's heart, his ragged breathing and soft cries. He cocked his head to the side and focused his senses. He could hear the blood racing through Blair's veins and arteries. He never heard Simon's assurances Blair would be fine. He wasn't aware of Simon pushing the coffee cup into his hand and being urged to drink.

Detective James Ellison was zoning.

"Ellison! Jim, Jim don't do this now. Oh man, you gotta be kidding. Detective Ellison, do you hear me? Ellison, this is your captain speaking!!"

Comments, criticism, suggestions? E-mail Susan Monica.